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Fantasy take on Richardson blockbuster

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Colts shocked the NFL world Wednesday when they traded a first-round pick in 2014 to the Browns for running back Trent Richardson. And they're going to waste little time in showing off their new toy.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano said Richardson will play in Week 3 at San Francisco despite little practice time or preparation to learn the new playbook. The Colts plan to give Richardson "as much as he can handle," according to Pagano.

"We didn't bring him in to be the water boy," Pagano said.

We like that Pagano is being bullish about Richardson, but you have to be a little skeptical about his workload against the 49ers. He didn't arrive in Indianapolis until Thursday and the Colts should already have a game plan in place featuring Ahmad Bradshaw and Donald Brown.

It won't be difficult for Richardson to learn the rushing plays, but it's doubtful the Colts will trust him to protect Andrew Luck in passing situations. Bradshaw will probably remain on the field when the Colts are throwing and Indianapolis could be playing from behind against a motivated 49ers team coming off an embarrassing loss to Seattle.

It's also a tough matchup against the 49ers defense, so you should be cautious with Richardson this week. He should be considered a flex option at best depending on your roster -- his best days definitely lie ahead.

The move to Indianapolis should allow Richardson to be a top 10 Fantasy running back after a slow start. Through two games, Richardson has struggled with just 31 carries for 105 yards and seven catches for 51 yards. Those numbers should skyrocket, starting in Week 4 at Jacksonville when Richardson will be up to speed with his new team.

The trade obviously crushed Bradshaw's Fantasy value, and you shouldn't start him against the 49ers. Just when things were starting to look up after Vick Ballard (knee) went down, Bradshaw is now relegated to reserve duty behind Richardson. He will still play a role, but he's not going to start for Fantasy owners any time soon.

We wouldn't cut Bradshaw just yet because Richardson has struggled with injuries to start his career. Even though he missed just one game as a rookie in 2012, he's already had knee surgery, played through broken ribs and dealt with a shin injury this preseason.

If there's someone out there you need and Bradshaw is the only one to drop then do it, but don't discard him on a whim. He could still be the third-down back for the Colts, which would give him some value in PPR leagues.

One move we would condone is dropping Bradshaw for Willis McGahee, who will replace Richardson in Cleveland. You'd be getting a starter for a reserve -- even if McGahee's outlook is murky with the Browns.

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The last time we saw McGahee was Week 11 last year for the Broncos when he broke his leg. Prior to going down, McGahee had 167 carries for 731 yards and four touchdowns and 26 catches for 221 yards, and he had at least eight Fantasy points in five of the nine full games he appeared in. The Broncos decided to cut him this offseason after drafting rookie Montee Ball.

McGahee only got a recent tryout with the Giants after Week 1 and his best days are clearly behind him. He'll be 32 in October, but CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason LaCanfora reported in August that McGahee was in "great shape."

He could end up paying off for Fantasy owners as a potential flex option, but don't go overboard in trying to acquire him in most standard leagues. He's not going to save your season, especially if Richardson struggles for the Browns.

The earliest we'll likely see McGahee is Week 4 against the Bengals since he's not expected to play in Week 3 at Minnesota. Even if he does you shouldn't consider using him in the majority of leagues.

In the meantime, look for the Browns to go with Bobby Rainey and Chris Ogbonnaya against the Vikings. So far this season, Ogbonnaya has no carries and three catches for 34 yards. He was a reserve in 2012 with eight carries for 30 yards and 24 catches for 187 yards. But in 2011, Ogbonnaya started four games and finished the season with 73 carries for 334 yards and a touchdown and 23 catches for 165 yards. Rainey, who spent 2012 on the practice squad for the Ravens, has yet to touch the ball this year or in the NFL.

Rainey will likely handle rushing duties with Ogbonnaya playing on passing downs. Since Cleveland will likely be trailing at Minnesota, we give Ogbonnaya the edge this week. Long-term, these two running backs have minimal value unless McGahee gets hurt.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg .

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Player News
Raiders bring back Kaelin Burnett
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Raiders have inked exclusive-rights free agent Kaelin Burnett to a one-year deal. He's expected to compete for a roster spot in training camp. 

Dekoda Watson moving to strong-side LB
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) In the wake of the release of veteran linebacker Russell Allen, the Jaguars are expected to make Dekoda Watson their new starting strong-side linebacker, ESPN reports. He'll also play as a pass rusher and potentially line up as a defensive end on third downs. 

Watson had 42 total tackles, two sacks, an interception, a pass defensed, a forced fumble and a blocked punt with the Bucs last year. 


Brandon Gibson begins light jobbing
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Brandon Gibson has begun light jogging as he works his way back from a torn patellar tendon, the Miami Herald reports. The Dolphins are expected to keep him on the roster, if only because of the cap hit he'll cost, per the report. He said recently he expects to be ready for Week 1. 

'Humbled' Richardson explains 2013, promises a better 2014
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Colts running back Trent Richardson spoke openly about his disappointing 2013 season, saying that it took him too long to learn a new playbook and get over leaving Cleveland after Week 2. Richardson also told the official team website that he's planning to do everything within his power to be as prepared as possible for 2014. 

"Y'all will see a big significant difference in the way I play, the speed. I won't have to think about a lot of stuff," Richardson said earlier this offseason. "It's going to be big -- timing with the offensive line, timing with Andrew (Luck), just knowing a lot more with the program, the whole system.

"They haven't seen everything they're going to get out of me yet. A lot of it is going to come next year. A lot of it is going to come in the offseason. I'm going to put in a lot of work, as I've been doing this whole season. This season humbled me. ... This season was a lesson to me."

Colts coach Chuck Pagano has had Richardson's back, says the running back, and the coach stressed back in March that his running back's involvement in the offseason program will be key. 

"It's going to be very, very important for (Richardson) to be here for the offseason program and to dive into this thing full steam ahead, which he will," Pagano said. "He wants to be great. He's got all the talent. He's got all the ability. We would have never done what we did if we didn't believe that deep down in our core. So we look for him to have a great offseason and to have a great 2014 campaign."


Saints bring back Robert Meachem
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Saints announced Friday that the club has re-signed veteran free agent wide receiver Robert Meachem to a one-year contract.

Meachem is a seven-year NFL veteran who was originally the club's first round draft pick (27th overall) in 2007. He re-signed with the Saints prior to the start of the 2013 regular season and appeared in 15 games with five starts. He finished with 16 receptions for 324 yards with two touchdowns.

Meachem said signing with the Saints now should help with his preparations as he will be able to take part in the team's offseason conditioning program, OTAs and mini-camp. Plus, "this is home," he said.


Can Chris Johnson turn into Tomlinson?
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Jets are hoping running back Chris Johnson can do for them what LaDainian Tomlinson did in 2010, reports ESPN.

That season, Tomlinson came from San Diego to New York after he was released. He responded with a team-high 914 yards with six touchdowns on 219 carries and caught 52 passes. He was supposed to be Shonn Greene's backup, but Tomlinson was so impressive that he won the starting job and became an integral part of a team that came within one game of the Super Bowl.

Maybe Johnson, who was let go by the Titans, can do the same thing.

"I can turn the bad things people are saying into a good thing for me, to give me motivation, to keep me hungry and to keep a chip on my shoulder and prove the naysayers wrong," he said Thursday.

Johnson had a disappointing year in 2013 when he averaged just 3.9 yards per carry, but he played 13 games on a torn meniscus and was running behind a suspect offensive line for a team that didn't have its starting quarterback for half the season. The situation in New York should be improved, and hopefully being teamed with Chris Ivory will allow him to play like Tomlinson did in 2010.


Aikman worried about Tony Romo
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Former Cowboys quarterback and Hall of Famer Troy Aikman is worried about current Dallas quarterback Tony Romo coming off back surgery, reports the team's official website.

Romo, 34, is coming off back surgery in December, which was the second procedure on his back in a year.

"I came back in a relatively short period of time because of when I had my surgery, so he's at least afforded more time to get ready," Aikman said. "But having said that, two back surgeries in less than a year at his age, I would be a bit concerned.

"I'm hopeful that he's able to come back -- everybody is. This team won't be the same if he's not able to. I anticipate that he will come back. But to say that, 'Hey, he's ahead of schedule and everything's going fine,' I'm not sure how you can really measure that here in April."


Bengals, A.J. Green not talking extension - yet
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Bengals are expected to exercise the fifth-year option on receiver A.J. Green's contract by May 3, reports Pro Football Talk. But the sides have yet to discuss a long-term contract extension, according to the report.

The Bengals hold the rights to Green through the 2015 season. And in 2016, if a long-term deal hasn't been signed yet, the Bengals can use the franchise tag on Green for that season.

The report says Green can force the issue by trying to boycott offseason workouts or hold out from training camp. But Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is confident Green will be there.


Chris Snee will give it a shot this spring
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Giants guard Chris Snee will attempt to go through the Giants offseason program once he's healthy, the New York Daily News reports. Snee had hip surgery last season and an elbow surgery earlier this year. There is no timeline for him to be at 100 percent but he is expected to be on the field for the "bulk" of offseason activities. 

Report: Niners won't release Aldon Smith
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The 49ers might expect a suspension for pass rushing linebacker Aldon Smith, but they are not planning to release him, NFL Network reported on Friday.

Smith was arrested recently for making false bomb reports at a Los Angeles airport, the latest of a string of troubles for the highly talented linebacker. He was also arrested for suspicion of DUI in January, 2012 and again September, 2013. He also had marijuana on him during that September arrest. In October, 2013 he was charged with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon. 


 
 
 
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